Product Design Strategy


Very soon the #beapirate challenge is taking off, where you will have the chance to develop and work on your ideas for a better future together with young people and experienced mentors from all over the world. We hope you are as excited as we are, but perhaps you are also getting a little nervous. For how do you come up with a cool project that will bring you to Silicon Valley? Don’t worry, we are here to help you! We’ve had a look in our community and asked Tobias Micko, Product-Experience manager at Playful Solutions, what he would do. His answer: The Product Design Strategy!

The first thing you need to know about this strategy is: 

Your first idea will never be your final idea.

– Tobias Micko

And that is probably a good thing. It definitely wasn’t the first rocket ship that NASA developed that got them to the Moon. Pirates always work to improve themselves and their projects, so expect a lot of changes to happen along the way and trust that they will improve your final product in the end. Don’t despair – keep moving forward.

The second thing you must be aware of is that developing something new always bears some risk. To minimize the risk, minimize the resources you invest in your idea. Try things out and do it fast. A year of research and equipment worth a million isn’t necessarily increasing your chances of success, but taking action and trying out now is. 

With these two recommendations, let’s look at the Product Design Strategy more closely. It is divided into 7 phases. :

  1. Vision: What is your basic idea? What do you envision? In this stage, you just define your general idea. It doesn’t have to be too specific yet. An example of an idea could be – A small handy object with which you can make emergency calls. 
  2. Ideate: How may a product look that realizes your idea? In this stage, you start trying things out, brainstorm with your teammates and turn your idea into a tangible project. This stage should have a clear time limit, otherwise, you will spend too much time trying things out. To build on our example from the previous stage, you might find out that a necklace could be an option.
  3. Research & Development: Once you approximately know how your product could look (even at this stage, you haven’t yet reached your end product), you can start to actually develop your product. You should only focus on the basic features and then start testing, so although it would be great if you could also share your location with the caller via the necklace, you should solely focus on the calls for now. Remember: Keep your investments at a minimum. 
  4. Production: When the basic features are in place and work, you can start to add the nice-to-haves like location sharing. At the end of this stage, your product should have reached a point where it can be tested by actual users. 
  5. Preparation: Now it is time to expose your product to the real world. Allow users to test and evaluate it. On the basis of their feedback, you can do some final improvement before you start selling and shipping it. 
  6. Grow: Even though you have started selling, you should always be prepared to make additional changes to your product. But otherwise, it is time to grow your business exponentially and reach as many people as possible.
  7. Sustain: Finally, it is very important to not only sustain your sales, but also your relation to your customers. Keep them happy, and your business will be happy. 

Especially stage 1 to 5 will be important during the #beapirate challenge, so go watch Tobias’ webinar where he goes more into detail, and perhaps also have a look at Petra Hauser’s webinar on Design Thinking. If you watch those two webinars, you will be more than well equipped for the challenge! 

About Tobias
Tobias is a creator and maker within the product world, driven by aesthetics and design. Currently engaged with the game design agency Playful Solutions he is working on various projects for clients like Red Bull and Siemens. He co-created the design feedback software tweakr.io and is part of the hosting team of the international design conference OFFF Vienna.

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